Three members of the Church of Ireland’s Moville Group of Parishes travelled to Letterkenny on Monday to take part in an event which celebrated World Arabic Language Day. It was organised by Donegal Intercultural Platform and took place in the Regional Cultural Centre in Letterkenny.
The Bishop’s Curate in charge of the Moville Group was accompanied by Margot Caldwell (Moville Parish) and Linda Parke (Donagh Parish). Also at the event were members of the Syrian refugee families who have recently been resettled in Carndonagh, Inishowen.
As well as providing insights on Arabic language and culture, the event featured Arabic and Middle Eastern music, video clips, and the opportunity to sample some Middle Eastern food. Those present were taught how to write their names in Arabic and there was an opportunity to get a henna tattoo – for those who wanted to avail of it. There was even some spontaneous intercultural dancing!
Rev Cousins, who has only recently returned from a trip to the Holy Land, has congratulated the Donegal Intercultural Platform for organising the event. She said that she appreciated the opportunity to learn more about Arabic language and culture in such a friendly and enjoyable way, and to develop friendship with the families who are settling in Carndonagh.
“We are eager to reach out the hand of friendship to our Muslim brothers and sisters, and especially to refugees,” Rev Cousins said. “Gatherings like this help to improve relations and build friendships. The better we know one another, the less reason we’ll have to mistrust and fear one another in the future. We were honoured to be there – and we got tattoos to bring home with us!”
(Photograph shows Donagh Parish Church in Carndonagh.)